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MRC National Cancer Research Strategy meeting – Feb 2017

On 23rd and 24th February, The Medical Research Council (MRC) in collaboration with its partners in cancer research including CANSA, hosted a National Cancer Research Strategy meeting to develop a cancer research strategy for South Africa. This was attended by 55 cancer researchers/stakeholders, mainly from South Africa, with some representation from Zambia, Botswana, Kenya and USA (NIH and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center).

The morning of the first day included presentations from MRC, WHO and NIH, as well as on cancer epidemiology in South Africa and burden of disease, a summary of current cancer research in South Africa, and cancer control plans in India, Botswana and China. This set the scene for break-out sessions for the afternoon. Attendees were divided up to join groups covering the topics of cancer registry and surveillance; prevention/early diagnosis/treatment; public health, health systems strengthening; research capacity development; genomics and precision medicine; and research translation. The afternoon was spent working on recommendations for research in each of these areas, as a contribution towards a national cancer research agenda.

The second day was spent on presentations and discussion of each of these areas. The MRC and organising committee will produce a report on proceedings and possibly a publication in a relevant journal. The MRC plans to use this as a basis for designing their cancer funding programme. This information will also be shared with CANSA’s Research Committee to see how CANSA should take this forward.

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